Tag Archives: New Look

Kiss me Kate

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I don’t know if anyone else had a double take at the lovely Kate Winslet’s curves when she wore this amazing optical illusion dress, but I did and as a skinny old minnie, I was dying to get one for myself! Let’s face it, she looks stunning.

Now. If you have a spare £885 to buy this Stella McCartney beauty, then…well, marry me essentially.

But in seriousness, I doubt that anyone in the real world actually has that money to spare on a dress even as killer as this. It was just a matter of time before the high street heard the word on the grapevine, and thank the lord!

For a mere £19.99, you can set lasers to stun in this pinkie number from New Look.

There’s also this very similar version by Love at Topshop in Coral. Still fairly bargainous at £28.

If you’re feeling a little more flush (and don’t like pink!) then this gorgeous emerald green version is for you – at Runway Route for £46. An awesome dress for a date. Hello boys.

Finally, for just a widdle bit more you can nail two trends in one with this tropical print lovely from Lipsy at Freemans – at £65 its still not bad.

All I need to do is saw the padlock off my purse and find myself a hot date, and I’ll be snapping up one of these before you can say “Jack, I’m flying”.

 

 

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Twice Knightley

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So, I don’t know why but this week I was reminded of a fab outfit of Keira Knightley’s from last year that I was dying dying dying for.

I searched high and low last year for a beautiful yellow skirt like Keira’s but to no avail. Hers was from Whistles and was an eye-watering £110. Now much as I loves a summery frock, I’m also aware that the colour and fabric of said skirt is not exactly what you’d call trans-seasonal, and Britain is hardly a tropical paradise, so I thought it wasn’t really an investment.

But now, it having entered my consciousness for the second time, I have set myself the challenge of replicating Keira’s look, but finding the whole outfit for the price of the Whistles skirt. Remember fash-maths from earlier posts? Well, it’s back baby.

I decided that I’d leave out the belt, as if you’re like me, through the course of the last year you’ve accumulated more ‘free’ tan belts with items of clothing than you could shake a stick at. And I think I could shake a stick at quite a few.

So, here’s my first attempt.

Skirt – 19.99 New Look; Shirt £16.99 New Look; Sandals £60 Aldo

Fash-maths total: £96.98. Hurrah! This is good, yes, but I think I can do better…

Second attempt

Skirt £45 Oasis; Shirt (tie at the waist) £7.99 H&M; Sandals £19 Dorothy Perkins.

Fash-maths total: £71.99

Aside from me actually salivating at those sandals (errrrr, WANT) that leaves a delightful £38.01 to go and buy yourself a cocktail or two and attempt to attract a bloke like Keira’s.

Sorry, Whistles you just can’t beat fash-maths.

Colour crush

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It hasn’t happened for a long time, but I am having a massive colour crush at the moment. Everything I want to buy seems to be in this colour – my mother would call it ‘eau de Nile’ (how very 80s), but essentially it’s a very delicate aquamarine.

To my delight and my credit card’s eternal shame, I’ve gone and bought a couple of bits in this colour already. I realise that pastels are big this spring summer, but there is a destinct risk that I could end up just owning clothes in this colour alone. So to stop me from doing so, I felt I would share some of the lovely bits I’ve seen with you.

Firstly, I actually have bought this, but it’s super cute and I love the bird print on it (kooky animal prints are all over the hangers like a grandma on a gin bottle, so I advise you to get involved.)

This baby is £28 from Dorothy Perkins (who have had a surprisingly awesome spring drop, it has to be said) and I think it will see me through summer very well. I realise that there are many opportunities to make jokes about the fact that the birds are blue tits, but believe me I have made pretty much all of them in my head already, and none of them merit sharing.

Here comes Zara again, doing the pastel-y business with these lovely patent aqua heels for £69.99.

Now, I know that pastel shoes can look very wedding-y, but I would rock these with some black ankle grazers, a metallic top and a tux jacket to mix things up a wee bit to make you more ‘hot mama’ and less ‘mother of the bride’.

Next up is this nostalgia-enducing ballet wrap from Topshop (£36). It quite simply is one of the cutest things I have seen in 2012 (except that pig that has to wear wellies) and I want want want it! ARGH! It takes me back to circa 1992 when I pestered my mother for a ballet wrap cardigan (even though I did tap dancing, but whatever, I wanted one!)

The influx of pastels and prints in the shops means that we’re in for a girlie time in fashion, so make the most of it by teaming it with a floaty dress and some delicate heels (yep, time to ditch the platforms for this baby!)

Last up is this crop shirt from Miss Selfridge. It says ‘hello holiday’ – which is ideal, as I shall buy it for my holiday. Hurrah.

I would avoid the urge to put it with dark denim shorts – you can be too blue, you know. I’d opt for black or beigey tailored shorts and some sandals. Keep it simple peeps.

But what if pastels don’t suit you? You can always add accents with some cool accessories, and if you’re a bit short on cash they can be mighty purse friendly too. Try some of these for your pleasure:

L-R: Barry M nail varnish in Aqua Moon; Blue polka dot studs, £4.50, ASOS; patent pumps, £15.99, New Look; waist belt, £8.00, ASOS.

Blue bliss. x

Working 9-5 – part 1

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Although I love shopping, there’s one area that I’ve always disliked. I know, but don’t desert me just yet dear friends! The bit of shopping I don’t really enjoy is buying work clothes. I’m sure I can’t be alone in that.

I’ve always thought it a bit odd that I hate shopping for the clothes that I probably wear the most. You’d think one would put more effort into them than anything else. Unfortunately I find two things:

  1. Clothes that I used to wear outside of work that I no longer like end up being relegated to my work wardrobe. I know – this feels like blasphemy to a dedicated fashion nerdette, but it’s true.
  2. In a bid to spend not much money on work clothes, I usually end up buying basic tops – resulting in an endless black-trouser-coloured-top combo. How unimaginative.

So how do we sort out this sorry state of affairs?

When it comes to jazzing up the workwear wardrobe, contrary to what a lot of shops try and tell us (I’m looking at you, Warehouse) unless you work in fashion or design, or are a professional tennis player, shorts are NOT acceptable for the workplace! If I turned up in a pair of shorts to my office, I would give at least two members of staff a heart attack, and those who didn’t go into cardiac arrest would have asked me if I’d been drinking! So I need to find suitable alternatives to snazz myself up a bit.

It has therefore become my mission to banish grey trousers, pinstripes and those dreaded basic tops and funk up my work wardrobe.

Colour me beautiful: Imagine my delight when I discovered that coloured trousers are coming in. Obviously I’m not suggesting that I’m going to leap into a pair of neon breeches and skip into the office, but there are some colours that I think would be acceptable for the workplace, like navy, plum and burgundy. I feel the darker colours are better, personally.

Look at these! The first are from Topshop at £35 – they are available in three different lengths. I don’t know how well you can tell from the photo, but this second pair is purple, priced £24.99 from New Look. I can find their sizes a bit iffy, so I can recommend some trying-before-you-is-buying. I also have to admit to being a fan of these copper palazzos from Zara, but appreciate they wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice (also bottle green, black and blue.)

Pan-dering to our needs: Peter pan collars are all up in fashion’s face at the moment too – I think they add a cuter edge to an outfit, and I will definitely be buying one for my new work wardrobe. I love this classic shirt from ASOS – there are so many ways to style up this simple piece, and it will transcend the seasons, so it’s reasonable at £30. Then there’s this two-in-one dress by E1 London from newly discovered Fashion Union – top value for money at £30. I’d pop a tight fitting basic long sleeved vest in a similar colour underneath to combat the cold so I could wear through the winter. Finally I’ve found this slight variation in this scalloped number by Louche at Joy. It’s £35 and the colours are bang on. I’d probably tuck it into the Toppers trousers above actually!

Needles-s to say: When it comes to feeling good at work, I don’t think you can beat a nice knit dress. I bought a stripey one from Zara for about £9 three years ago and it’s still going strong. Add a pair of opaque tights, and Bob’s your mother’s brother. Rock this Mango boat neck with those tights to make this day-wearable – it’s £39.90 and available in about 6 different colours. Nail a beatnik look with this Kenneth Cole dress (in the sale on the House of Fraser website) It’s slightly pricier at £51, but it’s a silk mix and monochrome never goes out of fashion. That subtle wider black band in the middle will give definition to your waist too. Finally I found this cute little chappy from Dorothy Perkins for £35: wear with pearl stud earrings and some courts and nail the ladylike look.

I feel we’ve worked from 9-1, not 9-5 on this one, so we’ll have a lunchbreak and commence working the 2-5 soon. x

Pencil me in

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So, pencil skirts are a bit of a classic and a wardrobe staple, especially in black. After the swishiness of pleats and chiffon over the summer, they are having a bit of a moment as we come into autumn winter collections, which are a bit more about structure.

Also, a colleague asked me to find her a plum/purple skirt, but whilst we’re on it and there are so many beauties to choose from in so many great colours, I can’t help but add in a few of the others that I am loving.

Purple passion: Finding purple was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated! I found these two in New Look at £19.99 each, and this tube skirt from River Island at £20 (also in tres AW11 ochre.) For something a bit different (and if my friend is feeling a bit more flush) I also found this layered lovely from Coast for £78.

I have to say that my favourite is the second New Look skirt – you can’t see that well from the photo, but it has a slit on one side (v sexual), and is also availabe in black, red and jade. And it’s a bargain!

Best of the rest: There are squillions of pencil skirts teeming in all of the shops! Buy me, they shout, BUY ME! ASOS alone has over 30 styles to choose from. Phew! I’ve chosen the few that are making my eyes fat because they are so eye-candy-ful!

These are my faves from ASOS – the first two are the same style in different colours. I particularly love the cherry red – both a reasonably priced at £35. Be warned, this is a midi: it will shorten the legs of more petite girls. Avoid ankle straps, dolly bars or t-bars on your tootsies: it will shorten the leg further, no matter how tall you are. The third is a classic dogstooth, super chic, priced at £35. Although I loves a dogstooth, I’d be happier with parting with cash for this baby if it was a properly woven check, rather than a check print like it is.

I’ve also had my eye on this first Topshop number for a while – I particularly like the PU trim at the top. It gives waist definition without a belt. Nice. It comes in at £30 and is available in this turquoise colour, plus black, burgundy and mid-blue. I also spied this sweet lace number at £40 – go ladylike chic with a pussy-bow blouse and courts and you’re ready to rock and roll.

I am a big fan of independent labels, and I couldn’t possibly do a post about pencil skirts without a nod to the fabulous Vivien of Hollway, who specialise in retro 1950s style pieces. The Wiggle pencil skirt comes in classic black, navy and black satin, plus six, read it, SIX different tartan/checks. That happily ticks the heritage box! It’s priced at £35: you won’t see any of these babies in Primark, so you can stand out from the crowd for a reasonable price!

Enjoy the structured look…! x

Wedding, done!

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So, after much searching, I finally did that thing that men say women do when shopping and we say that we don’t: I went back to one of the first shops I visited. Sorry womankind, I don’t mean to set a bad example, don’t chuck me out of the sisterhood!

The store was Mango, the dress is ace. What actually happened was that I saw the dress in question a previous trip, but wasn’t in my size. After no success elsewhere, I then insisted on dragging my friend around every Mango we could think of in Central London until I found it in a medium.

So voila, the dress that does it all:

  1. Doesn’t look like I’m going to a prom
  2. Avoids black (and white, chill brides!)
  3. Not too short
  4. …or too casual…
  5. …or too worky.
  6. And I can only hope that no one else gets the same dress.
It also is purse friendly at £44.90, which also made me very happy. When I saw it, I thought it screamed autumn wedding, so here it is:
 
 
I’ll be wearing this badboy with these simple courts that I already own – they are called Arnoldoa from Aldo. I bought them before they went in the sale – they’re now £39.98. (Grrr. Sale envy.) I also will accompany with this wee bag from New Look – a steal at £12.99. (But frankly they have loads of nice bags at the moment at reasonable prices, so there were a whole host to choose from.)
 I also chose a blue pashmina (£6.99 from H&M – sorry it doesn’t seem to be online) to go over my arms in the (likely) event of cold. It exactly matches the blue colour in the pattern on the dress. Kiss my face.
 
I decided against a hat, and opted for something a bit more practical for a wedding in Northern Ireland…
 
 
xxx
 
 

Wedding guest appearance: mark 2

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So with the wedding only a few weeks away, the hunt is still on to find a nice dress.

Attempts 3 – 5: I am currently loving concessions ranges – and Closet at Dorothy Perkins usually gives me plenty of loveliness in classic shapes, bright prints at reasonable prices. I challenge anyone not to swoon! So off I popped with a friend and tried a host of different dresses, some of which included the following:

I liked the coral pleated dress (£48), but although it looked really nice and I loves a tea dress, I felt it broke rule 4 (too casual). Similarly, the purple fit-and-flare frock (£42) looked lovely, but felt a little bit too worky (thus breaking rule 5). Nightmare.

If I could have found it in the store, I would have tried this retro baby. Pure 50s magic in dress form. This would have called for a pair of leather driving gloves, like these cute heart cut-out ones, £22 from Accessorize. Obviously you could team this with a pair of black courts if you wanted something a bit more subtle, but if not, I think these block heeled bow courts, £29.99 from New Look, would set the whole thing off a treat!

Attempts 6 and 7: Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to Topshop concessions we go. But this time it was the biggie – Topshop’s flagship store at Oxford Circus. And this time I had a friend with me to help. They have a great range of concession labels here including Love, CiCi, Orion, Tara Starlet, Wal G, Dahlia, TFNC and, of course, Traffic People.

I tried on MANY dresses here! I won’t go through them all for fear of you falling asleep into a cup of tea and suffering 2nd degree burns on your nose. BUT here are the best of them.

Normally I dismiss Orion as a) being cut for the shorter lady and b) a wee bit expensive, but in the spirit of trying on the whole shop, I gave these beauties a go:

The first is called Julia and costs £67 – it hit the middle of my thigh in terms of length, but looked really lovely on. The cowl neck sewn into the waistband gave me some killer curves. I loved it very much, and this is definitely on my shortlist. Apologies about the dimensions of the pic of the second one – I had trouble trying to get a picture of the white version. Click the link on the name to see it properly. This dress was called Queenie, and at £76 it was one of the more expensive dresses I tried. Although I loved it on, I didn’t seventy-six-pound love it, and white chiffon felt more like cocktails-on-holiday than autumn-wedding. So, if I’m feeling flush, when I go on hols in September I might treat myself to this, and wear with wooden jewellery and a pair of thong sandals.

I also tried, and dismissed these: Turquoise Eva dress by TFNC (£60, too short!); royal blue frilled dress by CiCi (£45, made me look like I had massive shoulders) and some horrendous orange dress (I can’t remember the brand) with a weird cape bit on the back. Just no.

Onward, dear friends… x